Whole Foods to Debut in Downtown Mpls. in 2013

A planned 38,000-square-foot supermarket will anchor 222 Hennepin-a $70 million mixed-use development at the corner of Hennepin and Washington avenues; roughly 150 employees will be hired in connection with the new store opening.

Whole Foods Market said Wednesday that it plans to open a store at the former Jaguar dealership site in downtown Minneapolis.

The 38,000-square-foot supermarket will be located at the corner of Hennepin and Washington avenues. It will be the ground-level anchor of 222 Hennepin-a $70 million mixed-use development that's being developed by Minneapolis-based Ryan Companies US, Inc.

The new Whole Foods location, which is set to open in 2013, will include a separate liquor store that will offer various specialty beers and wines, the company said.

Whole Foods stores feature natural and organic foods that are free of artificial ingredients and hydrogenated fats. They sell fresh and organic fruits and vegetables, various meats and poultry, everyday pantry staples, and sustainable seafood.

“We look forward to adding to our existing locations in the Twin Cities,” Whole Foods Midwest Regional President Michael Bashaw said in a statement. “The Twin Cities is definitely an area of growth for us, and we're extremely excited to expand our offering of natural and organic products to an even greater customer base.”

Whole Foods said that it will hire roughly 150 employees in connection with the new store opening; approximately 80 percent of its staff work full time.

Minneapolis residents have long showed interest in a downtown grocery store. In a 2011 survey conducted by Twin Cities Business, respondents indicated that grocery is among the types of retail that they would like to see in the area but that it now lacks.

But Whole Foods isn't the only grocer with its sights set on downtown Minneapolis. This spring, Edina-based Lund Food Holdings, Inc., will open a Lunds store at 1201 Hennepin Avenue.

The Twin Cities has a high concentration of grocery co-ops. Among the most well known are The Wedge and Seward Co-op.

Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods operates three stores in Minnesota-including one on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, one in Calhoun Commons in Minneapolis, and a Minnetonka location that opened in October. An Edina store is slated to open April 18.